Ep 04 continues introducing us to the characters of the Kiva-verse, as well as the debut of Kiva’s Garulu form. All is well.
I don’t know, while episode 1 was darkish, this episode feels almost Den-O-ish. Not so Den-O-ish that people didn’t DIE, but close enough.
A continuation of ep 3, as Wataru struggles with the idea that his dad might not be the ideal manly man Wataru’s always thought him to be, we get treated to some nice fleshing out of the other characters. Shima looks like he’s not unnecessarily evil just because he’s the head of a secret organization, though he seems pragmatic.
Nago Keisuke is revealed to be the second Rider, and though he may have an ego whilst still being a nice guy, he doesn’t have as big a chip on his shoulder as say, Kusaka/Kaixa from Kamen Rider Faiz. I like that he’s a paladin sort, saintly but stubborn. Button fetish comes off as a fetish rather than a cool trait though.
Megumi is an amusingly obnoxious broad. It remains to be seen whether she’ll turn out charming or just plain annoying as the series progresses.
On to the action, the Moth Fangire returns, naturally. And I like that it has a motive for attacking Kiva. In fact, it’s a rather good motive, all things considered. What I like most of course, is how the Moth Fangire’s ire was incorporated in such a throwaway moment. Pretty awesome.
Of course, this is the episode where Garulu makes his debut. In the middle of the fight with the Moth Fangire, Kivat (the unliving bat-belt) calls for Garulu, since Wataru was hesitating. Garulu is a savage type fighter, and despite the corniness of a feral Rider, managed to pull it off. The impressive transformation scene hides the fact that there’s little significant change in the character design, much to my personal chagrin. And his finisher of a scimitar slash with the blade held between his teeth is such a cool concept, that I can ignore that the Kiva helmet doesn’t really have teeth, or a mouth to hold said sword. In any case, they pulled it off well, visually.
The music in Kiva is thus far excellent, the energetic tune really adding atmosphere to Garulu form. In addition, Kamen Rider Kiva features some of the most best fights in recent Rider history. Oh sure, Kamen Rider Kabuto had bullett-time fights, but in trying to be “realistic”, the fights in some Kamen Rider can be pretty lackluster at times.
Kiva combines the animated style of Den-O, with actual prolonged fights that are pretty brutal to create some of the most impressive Toku fighting around, on par with the better Ultraman fights. It’s basically anime fighting. It’s not without it’s flaws, it can get corny when they try to maintain the theme too much, like Kiva fighting upside down in ep 1, which is not bad, but it felt forced the way he did it. Nonetheless, the fights in Kiva got “oomph”, giving the impression that Kiva’s one of the more “powerful” Riders around.
Anywho, ep 4 is good, can’t wait for them to move onto the other characters and Riders.